Instead of replying to hkellick
's post, I decided to make my own to help get the community going.
I started Ballroom Dancing when I was 12 and got roped in to partner a girl in a debutante ball. After those initial lessons, I wanted to do more so I started going lessons for individual medals†
. A few weeks in I was harangued to dance competitively with the owner of the studio's daughter.
After a couple of months of training, I had my first set of medals (bronze in Standard, Latin and New Vogue) and competed in my first competition in E Grade (now called Level 1) and D Grade for Latin. From then on, I was a ballroom dancer.
We moved interstate after a couple of years and so I changed studios and got a new partner... who also happened to be the daughter of one of the studio proprietors; weird. I improved so much
at this particular studio with my then-partner, Kellianne. We even went to nationals a couple of times and got beaten out by New Zealanders. At this stage I was training 4-5 days per week, as well as teaching medal classes when I could for meagre money.
Then came the end of high school and I headed off to university to study. This was when I realised how time-consuming and expensive ballroom was as a hobby. I still loved it but just couldn't find the space in my life for it.
I joined the university's dance club and started teaching ballroom and street latin classes which kept me somewhat satisfied, but not as much as getting back into it would.
At 23, I'm still in university (although my final year now) and have been thinking about starting up once again when I graduate and have some time and money to spare. I really miss it, even if I did protest about fake-tanning up for competitions. And, the ladies love a dancer ;)†
I don't know how similar the structure of Ballroom qualifications is in Australia to the rest of the world but there are 4 styles: Modern/Standard, Latin, New Vogue and English Old-TIme each in which you can do Bronze through to Gold medals that differ in intermediate levels between FATD
which are the codes I'm familiar with.